Fran McCaffery’s youngest son Jack tried to scuff a baseball for his dad 10 minutes before the Iowa men’s basketball coach approached the mound Friday.
Iowa basketball players Eric May, Zach McCabe and Josh Oglesby crowded in the fifth row behind home plate holding iPhones and ready to take pictures of their third-year coach throwing out the first pitch on “Hawkeye Day with the Cubs.”
McCaffery’s oldest son, Connor, gave his father one last piece of advice. “Don’t bounce it.” Well, at least there’s that.
McCaffery joked about his control as a youth pitcher saying, “I never threw a strike when I was pitching. Why should I throw a strike today? I’ll get it somewhere near the plate”
Clad in a Cubs jersey with No. 24 on the back, McCaffery’s pitch sailed wide right of home plate but smack in the glove of Cubs pitcher Blake Parker.
Then McCaffery laughed as he walked off the mound and pointed at a reporter and said, “I was aiming for you.”
McCaffery’s first pitch was the kickoff to a promotion-filled weekend in Chicago for Iowa fans. More than 2,000 Iowa fans scattered throughout Wrigley Field for Friday’s Cubs’ game against the San Francisco Giants. Iowa’s football team opens its season Saturday against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears.
Here’s a look at McCaffery’s first pitch, which nearly drilled two photographers, including The Gazette’s Brian Ray.
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